Starting From Scratch: Five NBA Teams Overdue For an All-Out Fire Sale
The cyclical nature of the NBA insinuates that at any given time there are teams who are young and rebuilding, teams who are in their prime and contending for championships, and teams who are still playoff contenders but may be getting a little on the "old" side.
The best Managers and Owners maximize the time their franchises spend in the middle zone (the time in which they are contending for titles).
But in reality, there usually comes a time at which it becomes time to rebuild. Time to take the franchise in a different direction with a set of newer, younger players.
Sometimes, however, it is hard to draw the line. It's hard to know just how many more years of effectiveness a 35 year-old player has.
Do you trade him for a young gun only to see your veteran take his new team to the playoffs for three more years consecutively? Or do you hold on to his effectiveness as long as it lasts and then get stuck trying to trade an even less valuable veteran only to get less in return?
This is what separates the good general managers from the not-so-good. Their ability to make the right decisions. I'm not saying I would be a good General Manager, but here are several teams who have caught my eye as teams who could use a new direction for their franchise:
Boston Celtics: Alright, these guys can't play forever. The Celtics have five guys on their roster on the wrong side of 30 (35 in most cases), and little young talent to support Rondo in the future.
However, the Big 3 are all fierce competitors and I think they still have quite a bit left in the tank. Assuming they don't all retire at once (as a unit), the C's should have plenty of time to line up some competent successors.
Dallas Mavericks: The Dirk Nowitzki era is not coming to an end very soon as the only indicator of his aging is the number on his birth certificate. However, he is approaching his mid-30s, and along with Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion, the Mavs aren't getting any younger from here on out.
The reason the Mavericks are not on this list is because they, like the Celtics, are still a threat to go very deep into the playoffs with their current team.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Not so much that they are overdue (because it's happening right now), but they could get rid of Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison to get some serious young talent or draft picks if they want a complete remodeling.
5. New Orleans Hornets
Either to make Chris Paul happy by surrounding him with more promising players or to make Chris Paul happy by shipping him off, the Hornets could use some remodeling.
With Peja Stojakovic and Emeka Okafor on their way down the road to irrelevancy and David West's improvement seemingly tapered off, their doesn't appear to be much room to grow for the Hornets.
The franchise needs to set its foot down against mediocrity, and not let the fact that they have a star point guard mask the fact that they continually fail to put together a successful postseason drive.
Now, I'll keep them at five until I see how this experiment with Trevor Ariza works out but if he becomes a dud, the Hornets could find themselves higher on this list next season.
4. Denver Nuggets
It might be time for Denver to let go of the "tattoo era."
Probably NBA record-holders for most tattoos on a team when they had Allen Iverson, but they still have the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen and J.R. Smith inking up their roster.
With a distinct possibility that Carmelo Anthony may be heading out of Denver by season's end, they might as well look into a new direction for their team.
With the rumored trade possibility of Joakim Noah from the Bulls, the Nuggets might want to get rid of Kenyon Martin and aging Chauncey Billups.
What they would want in return would be some younger talent to begin a youth movement, while also getting as much in return for their trading chips as possible.
3. Phoenix Suns
The departure of Amar'e Stoudemire already shifts the Suns' direction quite a bit, but what about the eventual retirement of Steve Nash?
It seems as though Steve Nash will be a Sun until he retires, and if this is the case, Goran Dragic looks like he is lined up to be Nash's successor.
If the Suns underachieve and miss the playoffs this year, I would recommend they use their near-lottery pick on a promising point guard if Dragic doesn't turn out to be the true point guard Nash is.
2. San Antonio Spurs
Every year, the majority of the world claims that they've predicted the Spurs downfall "one year too early." And then they go back and do the same thing the following season.
So when will they actually sink down in the ranks and finally miss the playoffs? Not as long as Tim Duncan is around.
You have to admit that while the Spurs continue to stay close to home in their assumed title of "oldest team in the NBA," they have done a good job in preparing for the worst and eventual downfall of their Big 3.
They've more than prepared for the retirement of Tim Duncan in acquiring DeJuan Blair in the 2009 draft as well as their 2007 draft pick, Tiago Splitter, whom they've stored overseas to improve over the past three years.
On the perimeter, they've locked up young guns George Hill and recent draft pick James Anderson, to ease the pain of the aging Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
So, while the Spurs may be one of the teams who need remodeling the most, they are one of the teams who are most prepared for the worst to come.
That is good management.
1. Detroit Pistons
It is far past time to let go of Detroit's 2004 NBA Champion team. Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince's names alone make me want to yawn.
The supposed transition to a younger core including "franchise player" Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko along with an oversupply of perimeter players don't really account for much.
With the past couple of disappointing seasons in the back of their minds—and this coming season with much less hope—one would think draft picks might be more valuable than the contracts of Prince and Hamilton at this point.
The signing of Tracy McGrady doesn't really make a whole lot of sense either. It just adds to not only the age of the team, but also to the excessive amounts of wing players they've accumulated. But we'll have to wait and see how the experiment turns out.
Hopefully the Pistons can make some headway towards the following year with this next year's lottery pick they will most certainly have.